Survey reveals top priorities for coaching

The key goals for coaching sessions in the current economic downturn are team development, confidence/self-belief, personal development and motivation, according to a survey by executive coaching firms Performance Consultants and MS Coaching.

Other priorities include dealing with stress, uncertainty and insecurity; coping with the threat or the reality of redundancy; ‘survivorship’ and issues around the retention of senior managers.

The survey, which questioned 173 internal and external coaches, HR practitioners and managers in the UK and Denmark, shows that the downturn has had little overall impact on the levels of coaching provided in organisations.

Half of the respondents have experienced no change in the use of coaching, while those who have experienced a lull are counterbalanced by others who have seen coaching levels rise.

“Many senior managers have no experience, or training, in how to cope with the current economic situation,” said Alan Ward, Director of Performance Consultants.

“Instead, they’re turning to coaches to help them manage the immediate impact of redundancies and the longer term implications for morale and productivity. Their key business challenges are often around getting the restructured organisation to buy into a new vision, and a different way of operating, as well as supporting sales activity, product innovation and service delivery.”

The survey shows that coaches are responding by shifting their emphasis. Many are providing a more supportive approach, although 83% of coaches claim that they still aim to strike a balance between ‘challenge’ and ‘support’ in their coaching dialogues. 

75% of coaching assignments are undertaken at the request of the coachee. “Individuals clearly appreciate the benefits and the value of coaching,” said Alan Ward. “People want to be coached and they’re asking for it themselves.”

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